The Keepsake by Julie Brooks – #BookReview – #mysteryromance

“A thrilling dual-time novel of long-buried family secrets.”

Book Blurb:

Saturday: Pot-au-feu for luncheon. Father willed away inheritance. Betrayed by Edward.

The Keepsake by Julie Brooks1832. The morning after her father’s funeral, Prudence Merryfield wakes to the liberating thought that this is the first day of her new life. At thirty-five and unmarried, she is now mistress of her own fate. But a cruel revelation at the reading of her father’s will forces Prudence to realise that taking only the most drastic action will set her free.

Present day. Eliza is gifted a family heirloom by her aunt – a Georgian pocketbook, belonging to her ancestor, Prudence Merryfield, whose existence reverberates through the lives of generations of Eliza’s family, the Ambroses. Intrigued by what she reads inside, Eliza is drawn more and more into the infamous ‘Merryfield Mystery’. What happened to Prudence who so bravely dared to defy convention two hundred years ago – then disappeared?

His Review:

In the early part of the 1830s, Prudence Merryfield was blessed with a wealthy childhood but alas her mother died when she was young. She stayed with her father into her early thirties to provide comfort and family to him in his twilight years. When he died, Prudence expected to be the pilot of her own ship and able to do as she pleased.

Society in the 1800s, however, did not provide for much self-determination for young women. Her father entrusted a group of trustees to administer her substantial estate. The primary trustee is Edward Ambrose who decided that she should receive a substantial allowance each year from the trust. He guarded the trust and the property with an iron fist. Wherever Prudence went, Edward was sure to magically appear to monitor her travels.

The Keepsake by Julie BrooksA young orphaned waif named Bessie is found hiding in one of the hedgerows of the property’s lanes and is taken in by Prudence. She becomes the handmaid and personal servant for Prudence and is never far from Prudence’s side. Prudence decides she is too constricted by the ever-present Edward and decides to escape aboard a ship to the south Pacific for adventure and freedom. This is a mistake as the ship she and Bessie are on meets with an accident and sinks near a small South Pacific island. The marooned ladies are on separate islands and must integrate with the islanders or perish.

CE WilliamsThe author developed a very imaginative and engrossing narrative using the discovery of an heirloom to envelope the MC into a dual-time novel. The characters are believable and sympathetic. Edward Ambrose is an opportunist who places himself in control of Prudence’s fortune and properties and does his best to corral this young lady. The book enlightens the reader about the plight of the women of the 1800s and early 1900s. Treachery was rampant as men thirsted for the riches they could not obtain lawfully. Enjoy the adventure! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: 1714-1837 History of UK, Marriage & Divorce Fiction, Mystery Romance
ASIN: B09MQB7W7Y
Print Length: 386 pages
Publication Date: September 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Keepsake [Amazon]
Kobo

 

Julie Brooks - author
Julie Brooks – author

The Author: I’m so excited to be launching The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay with Headline Review. I love reading historical fiction and I love a mystery so I’m doubly pleased to bring you both in this new story. The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is inspired by my love of the stunning coastline of south-west Victoria, Australia, and the similarly wild coastline of North Devon, UK. Set largely in these two regions in the early twentieth century and one hundred years later, it’s a story of betrayal, redemption and family secrets. I hope you like it.

I was born in Brisbane, Australia, but have lived most of my life in Melbourne. I taught English and Drama in secondary schools before working as an editor of children’s magazines. Like many writers, I have been scribbling stories from an early age and feel confident to call myself an author.

I am represented by the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency in London, UK. To find out more, visit juliebrooksauthor.com and follow her on Instagram @juliebrooks_books.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Painting with Fire (Bold Women of the 17th Century Series Book 3) by Amanda Hughes – #BookReview – #culturalheritagefiction

Happy Release Day!

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Painting with Fire by Amanda HughesFrom the bestselling author of The Bold Women Series:
Québec 1690—Penniless and covered with burns, Véronique Barbeau sells sex to sailors and voyageurs at a dockside tavern in New France. The daughter of an illustrious artist, she’d once had it all: a loving family, a home in Paris, and a gift for painting, but a spurned lover changed everything. After being slighted by Véronique’s father, the young man sought revenge by setting fire to the family home, killing her mother, her sister, and scarring Véronique for life. Distraught, she immigrated to Québec with her father, but within months he was dead, leaving her alone and destitute in a port city halfway around the world.
Yet she would not be defeated. Véronique would rise again, fighting her way to the top, becoming one of the most celebrated artists in all of France. But she cannot rest until she unearths the horrifying truth about what really happened the night of the blaze.
Join Amanda Hughes as she sweeps you back to a time when monarchs ruled the world, tall ships sailed the seas, and quarrels were settled with swords.

My Review:

Map of New France
Map of New France territory approx 1750. Map attribute: Chalkboard Publishing

The author has done it again with her third book in the Bold Women Series, this one of the 17th century. I just love these tales from the Renaissance forward. In this entry, we are introduced to New France, the holding of which was a great deal larger than I remembered.

Quebec, Canada
Quebec, Canada. Map attribute: Wikipedia

In 1686 Véronique Barbeau found employment in Québec, New France at the Siren and Serpent Tavern as a fille de joie. Unfortunately, this is her last resort after losing her family, home in Paris, and lover, Rainier Laurent Delacroix. Her father, Monsieur Henri Frederik Barbeau, an artist of some renown, escaped with her from the bloody inferno in Paris that left her deeply scarred for life.

What is left to her is the innate talent of her father. She uses the gift with her limited free time and money to continue the legacy.

Painting with Fire by Amanda HughesWhile dealing with the clients, Véronique burns with the need to discover the truth of what happened. She is an attractive, strong woman who is determined to find restitution while hiding the evidence (in the voluminous clothing of the day) of the horrific event that changed her life.

Once again, the extent of the research by the author of the time and location is evident in the description of how the ladies dealt with the subjects of disease, birth control, and protection.

When she meets Gilles, a cartographer of questionable sexual proclivities and nobility, her life takes an exciting turn. Gilles, however, is multi-layered and for some time, she only sees one. They leave on an extended mapping quest into unchartered Indian territory, including the Chippewa. (I grew up with tales of a grandmother born on a Chippewa reservation in then “Indian Territory.” Knowing her and looking at her picture, it wasn’t difficult to imagine until our son provided my DNA test proving she was not one-half Native American.)

Besides the beautifully described locations, both in New France and Paris, the history, the period costumes, decorum, vernacular, and Renaissance-driven art concepts, there is the glaring inequality of the sexes and frontier justice.

It is well plotted and paced and creates flights of the imagination. The characters are well drawn and provide portions of resolution and conflict as well as plenty of action and subtle and crafty twists.

Finding inspiration in stories of real persons to populate the era provided many a solid character and realistic backgrounds. The author is a master storyteller. This is Book 3 of the 17th Century Series. I also read Book 1, The Firefly Witch and Book 2, The Sea Bandits. Each of the novels can be read as a standalone, so don’t worry where you come in to the series, whether 17th, 18th, 19th, or 20th Centuries. They are all engaging and entertaining.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts and it’s heartily recommended.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cultural Heritage Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lillis and Jaymes
ASIN: B0BCKVW93X
Publication Date: September 12, 2022
Source: Author contact
Title Link: Painting with Fire [Amazon]

 

Amanda Hughes - authorThe Author: Bestselling and award-winning author, Amanda Hughes is a “Walter Mitty”, spending more time in heroic daydreams than the real world. At last, she found an outlet writing adventures about bold women through the centuries. Well known for her genre-busting books, she is the winner of the Gems National Medal for Writing, featured in USA Today and is nominated for the 2017 Minnesota Book Award. Amanda is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and when she isn’t off tilting windmills, she lives and writes in Minnesota. Don’t miss these page-turning novels for readers who like historical fiction with a just bit of a love story. All of her books are stand-alone and can be read in any order.

The Bold Women of the 17th Century: The Firefly Witch Book 1

The Bold Women Series of the 18th Century: Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry Book 1 The Pride of the King Book 2 The Sword of the Banshee Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 19th Century: The Grand Masquerade Book 1 Vagabond Wind Book 2 The House of Five Fortunes Book 3

The Bold Women Series of the 20th Century: The Looking Glass Goddess Book 1

Interested in her new books or a free novelette? Go to http://www.amandahughesauthor.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – Women’s Detective Fiction – #happyreleaseday

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean Grainger

A Mags Munroe Story (The Mags Munroe Series Book 2)

Book Blurb:

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean GraingerIf you want to disappear, start again, make a new life, a small Irish village is probably not the wisest place to go, since anonymity is not something we do well here.

The arrival of someone new is always a cause for twitching curtains and whispered conversations.

But here, like everywhere, people have their secrets, and as the local sergeant I’m expected to have my eyes peeled for anything unusual.

And I do.
Usually.
Until I don’t, and the consequences are potentially fatal.

My Review:

Once past St. Patrick’s Day, if you need an “Irish fix” there is none better than picking up a Jean Grainger book. The author has that understated ability for placing you in the center of the Irish village set in the book you are reading—in this instance—Ballycarrick, Ireland.

Growing Wild in the Shade by Jean GraingerIt’s a book filled with characters, the MC being Mags Munroe, a newly promoted Sargeant in the local Garda. She has taken on the duty of coaching her community, settle conflicts, prejudices, and little offenses. She is married to Kieran, an independent roofer. Also prominent is Mags mother and Delia, newly minted Garda and also a Traveller, which is the main focus of this narrative.

As always, however, there are several under-plot threads one being her mother’s new love life and Mags own grapple with menopause. Her husband is living in fear of her being hurt again, last time seriously and they must come to terms with that aspect of her job.

It sounds like the little town of Ballycarrick is torn right down the middle regarding moving the Travellers from an area for which they’ve long been occupants without benefit of ownership. There are those who would move them to the area of another family of Travellers who are not so carefully or cleanly law-abiding. The Travellers are looked down on in any case and this provides an opportunity for proselytizing. Some good arguments here that sound as if they’d be the same for many of similar situations around the globe.

“She is only the monkey; Joanna Burke is the organ grinder.”

It is the everyday life though that the author manages to wheedle out of the pages, the little struggles, triumphs, and solutions brought about through thoughtful consensus. It is life in every village, every city—human life with bits of candor and clarity–and that iconic Irish sense of humor.

I received an advance copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my unbiased thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Detective Fiction, Women’s Crime Fiction, Women’s Literary Fiction
ISBN: ‎1914958012
ASIN: B09VCLSQX6
Print Length: 246 pages
Publication Date: Happy release! July 18, 2022
Source: Author request

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Jean Grainger - author
Jean Grainger – author

The Author: USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

[truncated]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

 

The Trouble With Secrets: The Kilteegan Bridge Story by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean Grainger

Happy Release Day!

#1 New Release in contemporary British & Irish Literature 

Book Blurb:

Kilteegan Bridge, County Cork 1958

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerFor eighteen year old Lena O’Sullivan, life is predictable and dull. A future of hard work, marriage to a local boy, and a family of her own one day is all she has to look forward to. People from her background know not to expect too much, but Lena yearns for something different.

Malachy Berger was different, for him, the world is at his feet. An only child of a wealthy, if peculiar father, a large inheritance, a beautiful house and a fine education are his due.

Nobody is in favour of Lena and Malachy’s friendship, but why not? What harm are they doing? Why is everyone so dead set against it?

Then fate takes a hand, and Lena realises that secrets and lies have bound her and Malachy in an impossible situation. And their future seems determined by events that happened long before they were born.

From rural Ireland to post-war Cardiff, Lena and Malachy’s story winds its way back to wartime Germany and occupied France in a web of deceit that threatens to destroy them both.

My Review:

It’s a given that if Jean Grainger comes out with a new book, I’m going to be reading it—having done so for most of her books, series or standalones. Of course, I have my favorites.

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerThis one tells the story of Lena O’Sullivan and her family in the Irish countryside of Kilteegan Bridge and is one of the reasons I love the author’s books so much—the authentic atmosphere she brings to her storytelling. It’s palpable. It’s the late 1950’s and apparently as in America during that time, a young lady finding herself in a family way, unmarried, was dealt with in one of several (often severe and) shameful ways.

Lena was luckier than most, however, having a loving father, Paudie, who took good care of his wife who would probably now be diagnosed as bi-polar. She tended to have manic episodes and when Paudie dies in a tragic accident, Lena is left with her fragile mother and siblings.

The baby’s daddy comes from a well-to-do family who has familial problems of their own and resides in Kilteegan House. Malachy Berger’s father carries a vendetta against the O’Sullivan’s and makes sure Malachy won’t be involved further with Lena.

I loved most of the support characters, railed against the Berger father who made a despicable antagonist and loved the character of Doc, Lena’s godfather. Eli made a great character, but almost too good to be true, and it was fun to watch Lena’s maturation process.

The trouble with secrets is that they almost always are exposed (sooner or later). The journey through the process of devising a credible story to satisfy the people of the village is an interesting one—but one I fear hangs like a loose tooth. And I have a feeling we haven’t truly gotten the whole story yet.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary British & Irish Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, British & Irish Literary Fiction
ASIN: B09V5MWCP5
Print Length: 313 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Source: Author
Title Link: The Trouble with Secrets [Amazon]  

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years…

[Truncated. Please read her full bio on her Amazon book pages.]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano – #Audiobook Review – #womansleuths

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

Book Blurb:

Finlay Donovan is – once again – struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she’s dealt with lately is that of her daughter’s pet goldfish.

On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband, Steven, out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he’s a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of soccer moms disguised as hit-women, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she’d like.

Meanwhile, Vero’s keeping secrets, and Detective Nick Anthony seems determined to get back into her life. He may be a hot cop, but Finlay’s first priority is preventing her family from sleeping with the fishes…and if that means bending a few laws then so be it.

With her next book’s deadline looming and an ex-husband to keep alive, Finlay is quickly coming to the end of her rope. She can only hope there isn’t a noose at the end of it….

From Edgar-Award nominee Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead – the hilarious and heart-pounding follow-up to Finlay Donovan is Killing It. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books.

My Review:

Yes, it’s the dreaded sophomore novel, the sequel to the hilarious Finlay Donovan is Killing It, and always a nail-biter wondering if it will mirror Book 1. I was really looking forward to this one and got the audiobook (again), although this one through NetGalley. I loved that debut, the first in what appears to be a successful series in the making if you can believe the cliffhanger in this one.

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead by Elle CosimanoMy favorite characters are back—of course, Finlay and her close buddy, nanny, accountant, and crime partner, Vero. These two can get into more trouble than a gaggle of two-year-olds with a bowl of chocolate pudding.

It’s another “in the story in the story” concept, Finlay is struggling with a strong case of writer’s block. Her agent is hounding her for the book that was promised but she’s easily distracted as we know by now and discovers that “Fed Up” has posted a hit request aimed at her ex on a female chat forum. Well, not that she wouldn’t do it herself, but she needs him to hang around for his kids who truly love him. And, let’s face it, he is a good father.

In one short stint as an accidental hit woman who’s totally inept, she’s experienced Russian mobs, detectives, corpses, and a variety of threats. Somehow no matter how far afield she gets in ca-ca, she still manages to come up smelling like a rose. And Vero either assists or comes up with the next crazy idea. These two are Laurel and Hardy. It’s slap-stick comedy with virtual pratfalls.

And always, at the worst possible timing, another call from her agent, but it’s beginning to look like she’s got this. Book 2, though, just didn’t quite have that humorous level of innocent bumbling quality as the first for me. Perhaps, while they still don’t know what they are doing, they are getting better at what they don’t know?

And what of the two possible romances of the first book? Nick and Julian. There must be some sort of romance, I guess. Her sister, a cop, is a great character among a number of engaging characters. The writer levels her brand of humor at the reader in staccato-like patterns with advance and retreat schemes. I didn’t hear a lot of Fin’s two youngsters and since Vero was with her most of the time, sometimes wondered who was watching them. The narrator tended to lapse into aggravating kiddie dialogue voice when they did appear. The conclusion left an obvious in for Book 3.

Okay, novel 2 done. I’m looking forward to Book 3—the characters provide a chuckle or two, the mysteries are well-plotted and entertaining, and the tension ramps up nicely into a satisfying conclusion.

My thanks and appreciation to Macmillan Audio and NetGalley for the copy of the audiobook.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Women Sleuths
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B094DRV832
Listening Length: 9 hrs 20 min
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Elle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle Cosimano is the Edgar-nominated and award-winning author of the acclaimed young adult novels Nearly Gone, Holding Smoke, The Suffering Tree, and Seasons of the Storm. Her debut novel for adults, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, kicked off a witty, fast-paced contemporary mystery series, which was featured as a People Magazine Pick and one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021. In addition to writing novels for teens and adults, her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post and Time. Elle lives with her husband and two sons in Virginia. You can learn more about her at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

Angela Dawe - narratorThe Narrator: Angela Dawe is originally from Lansing, Michigan, and currently calls Chicago home. Her work includes film, television, theater, and improvisational comedy, as well as audiobook narration.

 

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

The Berlin Exchange: A Novel by Joseph Kanon – #BookReview – #historicalthrillers

Book Blurb:

From “master of the genre” (The Washington Post) Joseph Kanon, an espionage thriller set at the height of the Cold War, when a captured American who has spied for the KGB is swapped by the British and returns to East Berlin needing to know who arranged his release and what they want from him.

The Berlin Exchange by Joseph KanonBerlin. 1963. The height of the Cold War. An early morning spy swap, not at the familiar setting for such exchanges, or at Checkpoint Charlie, where international visitors cross into the East, but at a more discreet border crossing, usually reserved for East German VIPs. The Communists are trading two American students caught helping people to escape over the wall and an aging MI6 operative. On the other side of the trade: Martin Keller, a physicist who once made headlines, but who then disappeared into the English prison system. Keller’s most critical possession: his American passport. Keller’s most ardent desire: to see his ex-wife Sabine and their young son.

The exchange is made with the formality characteristic of these swaps. But Martin has other questions: who asked for him? Who negotiated the deal? The KGB? He has worked for the service long enough to know that nothing happens by chance. They want him for something. Not physics—his expertise is out of date. Something else, which he cannot learn until he arrives in East Berlin, when suddenly the game is afoot.

Filled with intriguing characters, atmospheric detail, and plenty of action Kanon’s latest espionage thriller is one you won’t soon forget.

His Review:

Early in the cold war, it was almost impossible to go from East Germany to West Germany. A wall divided the country into four zones. People trying to get from the east to the west were often shot by the border guards. The thinking was that they were taking vital state secrets from the east to the west.

The Berlin Exchange by Joseph KanonThis story centers on a man who was going from the west to the east. He was a nuclear scientist who helped on the Manhattan Project. These people were closely monitored by their governments. The secrets of the atomic bomb were being taken to Russia to “help balance out the world powers.”

The protagonist fell in love with and married a woman in the east and had a son. His objective was to get his wife and son out of the eastern block and ultimately into the west, but being caught crossing the border could result in instant execution. The wife thought they could be happy living in East Germany. However, she is suffering from bad health and her husband wants to get her to hospitals in the west.

This novel reminded me of the era of the cold war and the tension felt by everyone on both sides of the Berlin wall. As a child in grammar school, I can remember being taught how to “duck and cover.” Knowing now the power of the atomic bombs realize this exercise was absolutely worthless.

CE WilliamsRead the book and observe the arguments between the characters as they discuss the problems with getting the family across the border. It should be enlightening for those who did not live through the era! 4.0 – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. Released on 2-22-22

Rosepoint Publishing: Four Stars 4 stars

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Thrillers, Espionage Thrillers
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 1982158654
ASIN: B08VJLQFQC
Print Length: 316 pages
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s): The Berlin Exchange [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Joseph Kanon - authorThe Author: Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of Leaving Berlin, Istanbul Passage, Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. He lives in New York City.

 

 

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend from Rosepoint Publishing

Roaring Liberty: The Queenstown Series – Book 4 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

#1 New Release in Historical Irish Fiction

 Book Blurb:

New York City, 1922

Roaring Liberty by Jean GraingerHarp Devereaux is torn. Part of her desperately wants to return to Ireland to finish what she and her family and friends started, and to witness the departure of the British forces from Ireland after eight hundred long years. But the other part finds life in America during the Roaring Twenties too exciting to trade for the sleepy streets of County Cork.

She and JohnJoe are united and determined to sample all that life after the Great War has to offer, but life Stateside is not as free and easy as Harp first imagines and soon she finds herself longing for the simplicity of her homeland.

She wants to live life on her own terms but life is never simple, on either side of the Atlantic, and there are sinister forces at work, determined to bring them all down..

My Review:

Book 4 of the Queenstown series wraps it up in classic style, managing to resolve all the issues in a fast-moving and immersive conclusion.

While I was not able to walk in Harp’s shoes, I do so enjoy all the characters, especially JohnJoe and in this entry to the series Jerry, Elliot, and Celia. Harp and JohnJoe hesitantly form a vaudeville act upon the insistence of Jerry who will act as manager and promoter, as well as Elliot (on violin) and Celia, their bookkeeper and seamstress.

Roaring Liberty by Jean GrainerAfter Rose and Matt return to Ireland, Harp feels free to live as she wants to live her life and that’s as a performer—beginning in New York where they find a lucrative level of success, particularly after Elliot pens an original that is picked as a favorite in their venues.

But there are issues back home and Jerry opens an opportunity to play in Dublin allowing Harp to see her mother again. While in Ireland, however, they discover the tentative and long-awaited peace treaty with Britain divides their country between those who are agreeable to the terms and those who are not, creating a dangerous climate and turning former friends to enemies.

Also, there is the issue of the home that Harp inherited when her “father” claimed her as his heir, bypassing his own brother who took possession of Cliff House following their hasty exodus to the states.

The well-paced narrative slowed somewhat in the middle as issues having been introduced were more carefully examined and possible remedies posited, while song lyrics were introduced (including the iconic Irish ballad “Danny Boy” (which always brings tears to my eyes) or repeated. I must say the lyrics of Elliot’s “original song” “Your Heart Will Know” is absolutely, hauntingly beautiful.

There are themes of the struggle of women in society (“Until all women were free, none were”), lifestyle, as well as the continued troubles with the British and class distinction.

I am one of the lucky few to receive an advance reader’s copy of this author’s works. I’ve enjoyed all of them, including The Harp and the Rose, Book 3, and find each delightful, atmospheric, and educational as well as engaging and entertaining. Book 4, Roaring Liberty is out now and highly recommended although you might wish to begin (if you haven’t already) with Book 1, Last Port of Call.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: British Historical Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, Historical Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Fiction
ISBN: ‎B09QFC6LNB
ASIN: B09DBWW184
Print Length: 480 pages
Publication Date: January 17, 2022 – Just Released!
Source: Author request
Title Link: Roaring Liberty  [Amazon] 

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER – USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi.

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four…

[truncated…]

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

Read her complete bio on Amazon or visit her website at Jean Grainer.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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